Baking with Coconut Oil for the First Time? 5 Valuable Tips You Need to Know!
By: Kayla Brown
While some have been using coconut oil for years, many of us are just beginning to see its value in the kitchen. Coconut oil can be used in so many things, from frying foods, to pie crusts, to homemade salad dressings. Plus, unlike shortenings and margarines, coconut oil is a plant-based saturated fat – which means it’s burned as energy rather than being stored as fat. And we’re all about those good fats.
1:1 is the only ratio you need to know when subbing coconut oil! This makes it exceptional for baking and swapping ingredients in your favorite recipes. Just keep in mind that coconut oil is naturally sweet, meaning sometimes you may want to reduce the amount of sugar you add.
Coconut oil is quite magical. Unlike olive oil, vegetable oil, or canola oil, coconut oil can be either liquid or solid in a matter of minutes. This means that when you store it below 76°F, it’s perfect for replacing shortening or butter. Storing it above 76°F makes it easy to swap out for melted butter, other oils, and so much more.
So, I know what you’re thinking. “I’m definitely not replacing my beloved butter and shortening with coconut oil – I don’t even like coconut!” Well, today is your lucky day, because we’re here to tell you that you’re wrong!
If you hate the flavor: Use refined coconut oil.
Refined coconut oil is extracted from dried coconut meat and undergoes major high-heat processing that removes the coconut smell and flavor. Perfect for any coconut haters! (or those who don’t want coconut flavored pizza crust. We get it.)
If you don’t mind the flavor: Use unrefined coconut oil.
Don’t worry coconut lovers. You can still have your flavor! Use unrefined coconut oil (also called virgin or pure coconut oil). It’s extracted from fresh coconut meat and doesn’t undergo the processing that refined coconut oil does. It will still have the scent and taste of coconut.
Okay so we mentioned this earlier – but it’s one of coconut oil’s best features, so we thought we’d elaborate.
When you sub butter with coconut oil on your cookie recipe, expect it to be a bit more crunchy (but still delicious!)
- Breads, Muffins & Cakes:
You should be just fine swapping out the recipes butter for coconut oil. Just be sure your coconut oil is in liquid form (see tip #5)
- Pie Crusts:
Just be sure to keep your kitchen cold and chill your flour beforehand. All of your kitchen utensils and materials should be chilled as well. The fat in shortening “shorts” the gluten molecules, making the dough crumbly. If you want to maintain this consistency while swapping, you need to ensure your coconut doesn’t melt while forming and working with the dough.
Coconut oil and butter both have smoke point’s around 350°F, meaning it’s great for sautéing veggies! And just like butter, you can even use the water droplet test. To see if your coconut oil is hot enough, throw just a tiny drop of water in the pan and see if it sizzles.
I know, I know. Here is yet, another blog telling you to keep something out of the microwave. But with good reasons!
You’re killing the antioxidants, meaning you're killing what makes it better for you.
The whole point of swapping say, butter with coconut oil is because it’s better for you. It contains some awesome nutrients and has some wonderful health benefits. However, coconut oil’s fatty acids and antioxidants can’t survive in the microwave. So…what’s the point?
It’s not really necessary.
Coconut oil has such a low melting point that it easily converts into liquid form. Just be patient (for literally 2 minutes max) and melt in a small saucepan over low heat and cool. Then use it as you would any other oil.
If you want to have it in solid form at all times, don’t store your coconut oil in the refrigerator. Measure approximately 1-2 tbsp. of coconut oil into each compartment of an ice-cube tray and place in the freezer. That way you have sizable amounts of frozen coconut oil – rather than having to freeze your whole jar.
So now that you’re a coconut oil pro – we want to see what you create in the kitchen!
If you’ve decided to swap coconut oil into your recipes, click on the icons below to share a photo with us! We're excited to see what you all have to bring to the table! ;)
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